Make your favorite copycat Olive Garden salad with its addicting, delicious dressing at home! Combine simple salad ingredients with a zesty, slightly sweet, slightly tangy Italian dressing for the most perfect salad recipe ever!
Want more Olive Garden copycat recipes so you can have the restaurant at your house? Check out my posts for Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup, Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup, and Olive Garden Breadsticks.
Let’s face it: We all go to Olive Garden for their salad (okay and also sometimes their pasta dishes). Even those who say they are not fans of salad can’t turn down Olive Garden’s delicious green salad with simple toppings like tomatoes, thin sliced red onions, shredded carrots, olives, parmesan, and pepperoncinis topped with their ah-mazing dressing. And now, you can get that very same salad at home with this Olive Garden copycat salad and dressing recipe! Make it once and you’ll be hooked. Sorry not sorry.
Here’s How You Make It
I pinky swear I didn’t skip any steps — this copycat salad is that easy!
- First, get out a large bowl and toss together the greens, tomatoes, onions, olives, and shredded carrots.
- Next, top the veggies with parmesan, croutons, and pepperoncinis.
- Then, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a jar, adding the lid, and shaking or whisking thoroughly in a bowl.
- Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving.
- Eat it like there’s no tomorrow!
Why This Recipe Works
Easy ingredients –All of the ingredients you need for this copycat Olive Garden salad are probably in your pantry or fridge, and if not, a quick run to the grocery store is all you need to pick up the components of this fabulous salad.
Parmesan –You wouldn’t think something as simple as shaved parmesan cheese would make such a difference, but the cheese in this salad is key here. Don’t skip it.
The dressing — The secret is that packet of Zesty Italian dressing mix, I’m telling you. Tangy, herby, and so tasty!
A combination of textures and flavors — You have the crunch of lettuce and carrots, the bite of onions, the even harder texture of croutons, and then the crumbly, nutty parmesan, and soft, salty olives. Top it with a bite of pepperoncini for a little more sour and heat and reach salad perfection.
What to Serve with this Recipe
- Remake an Olive garden in your house by serving this salad with soup and breadsticks. Unlimited refills optional.
- Salad goes great with sandwiches and wraps too. Try my Skinny Chicken Avocado Salad or my Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps.
- This Italian Olive Garden salad also goes great with Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup, Pasta e Fagioli Soup, and Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup.
- Olive Garden Salad is a great salad to make in the summer when you’re grilling chicken, pork, or beef, too.
- Or, make this salad a meal all on its own by adding grilled or shredded chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas for some added protein.
What’s the Best Salad Dressing to Use?
I’m an Italian or ranch salad dressing girl for the most part, but these other salad dressings will be great on this Olive Garden copycat salad as well:
- A rich and creamy, tangy, fat free Dijon.
- Tangy, slightly sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing.
- Skip the pepperoncinis and add slices of mandarin orange or pear on this salad then use an Orange Poppyseed Dressing on top.
- You really can’t go wrong with a Balsamic Vinaigrette over almost any salad.
- This Greek Yogurt Ranch is creamy, (but not too creamy) tangy, and delicious when poured over any and all veggies, sandwiches, potatoes…basically all the things.
- My preferred lettuce to use in this Olive Garden salad is romaine hearts but any green leave lettuce will do.
- This dressing keeps well in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks, so feel free to double it and use it as your go-to salad dressing to pour over all the salads!
- Make this salad even easier to make by purchasing pre-cut and washed lettuce as well as grated carrots.
- If you don’t have grated parmesan, no worries, you can substitute the shaker kind of parmesan if you have it — it won’t be quite as fresh or nutty tasting and the freshly grated but still delicious!
- Do not dress this salad before you’re ready to eat it or it will get soggy if it sits too long. If you think you’ll want leftovers, only dress the salad you’ll eat now and store the rest of the salad and the dressing separately until you’re ready for the next round.
- The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, if left undressed.
More Recipes Like This
If you love Olive Garden, check out my complete collection of Copycat Olive Garden Recipes!
- Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Olive Garden Breadsticks
- Stuffed Chicken Marsala
- Best Simple Tossed Green Salad
- Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad
- Greek Tortellini Salad
- Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo
Did you make this Copycat Olive Garden Salad Recipe? EXCELLENT! Please rate the recipe below!
Olive Garden Salad and Dressing Copycat Recipe
- 6 cups chopped lettuce
- 2 roma tomatoes - sliced
- ½ red onion - thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup whole black olives
- ⅓ cup shaved or freshly grated parmesan - more to taste
- 1 cup garlic croutons
Olive Garden Salad Dressing
- 1 .7 ounce Zesty Italian Dressing Mix
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence - optional
- ½ teaspoon salt - or to taste
- cracked black pepper - to taste
- In a large bowl toss together lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and olives.
- Top with parmesan, croutons, and pepperocinis.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously.
- Toss with dressing just before serving. Enjoy!